The magnetosome is an organelle specialized for inorganic magnetite crystal synthesis in magnetotactic bacteria. The complex mechanism of magnetosome formation is regulated by magnetosome proteins in a stepwise manner. Protein localization is a key step for magnetosome development; however, a global study of magnetosome protein localization remains to be conducted. Here, we comparatively analyzed the subcellular localization of a series of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged magnetosome proteins. The protein localizations were categorized into 5 groups (short-length linear, middle-length linear, long-length linear, cell membrane, and intracellular dispersing), which were related to the protein functions. Mms6, which regulates magnetite crystal growth, localized along magnetosome chain structures under magnetite-forming (microaerobic) conditions but was dispersed in the cell under nonforming (aerobic) conditions. Correlative fluorescence and electron microscopy analyses revealed that Mms6 preferentially localized to magnetosomes enclosing magnetite crystals. We suggest that a highly organized spatial regulation mechanism controls magnetosome protein localization during magnetosome formation in magnetotactic bacteria.
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